The Nutrition Division of the Ministry of Health launched its website this week and also released its Food Based Dietary Guidelines for Sri Lankans.

Here are the guidelines: - .

Eat parboiled or less polished rice, whole grains, and their products instead of refined grains and their products

Rice is the staple food of Sri Lanka while other commonly used cereals are kurakan, maize, and wheat.  In addition, meneri, barly, oats are also consumed in Sri Lanka. Most of the vitamins, minerals and fibre in rice and other cereals are found in outer layer (bran) of the grain.  Polishing or refining these cereals leads to loss of these nutrients. Consumption of parboiled or less polished rice, whole grains and their products add more nutrients over the refined grains and their products.

Eat at least two vegetables, one leafy vegetable and two fruits daily

Sri Lanka is blessed with wide variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the year. They are good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre while adding colours and variety to your meal. It is recommended to have six table spoons from two different vegetables, three table spoons from green leafy vegetables, and two fruits daily to consume a total of five varieties.

Add fish or egg or lean meat with pulses in each meal

Pulses, fish, eggs, poultry and lean meat are major sources of protein and are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Proteins are essential for the growth, repair and maintenance of muscles and tissues, for production of hormones, enzymes, hemoglobin, and antibodies, thus play a role in immunity. Animal sources have good quality proteins (including all essential amino acids) with high bioavailability. However, the global concern on environmentally sustainable diet due to green house gas emission, water foot print, carbon foot print, and land use, it is important to add a mix of plant sources of protein to your daily diet.

Limit sugary drinks, biscuits, cakes, sweets and sweeteners

Sugar we add to food and drinks provides empty calories which do not have other nutrients except for carbohydrates. Consumption of excess sugar in sugar sweetened beverages (SSB), biscuits, cakes and other sweets promotes excess energy intake causing inflammatory diseases, over-weight, obesity and other non-communicable diseases such as Coronary heart disease, Diabetes, and some cancers. Hence, consume sugar sensibly. Limit the high intake of sugar and food and beverages with added sugar.  Maximum recommended amount of sugar is 30g (6 teaspoons) per person per day.